A short home meditation
1. Sit or lie comfortably. Loosen your clothing. Close your eyes.
2. Become aware of being still. Notice that you are sitting or lying quietly and just observe how it feels.
3. Now be aware of the contact you have with the surface you are lying on - chair, bed, floor. Notice the parts of your body that are in contact with the chair, bed, floor – your feet or heels, your legs, hips, back, arms, shoulders, head.
4. Now bring your attention to your breath. You don’t need to change how you are breathing. Just observe what happens when you breathe in and out. Notice how your body moves as you breathe. Notice how your chest and abdomen rise when you breathe in and and relax as you breathe out.
5. If it helps you can place your hands over your abdomen so that you can feel the movement of your body more easily.
6. Keep your awareness on this movement. Be aware of the gentle rise and fall of your body as you breathe in and out.
7. Feel the flow of air through your nose into your lungs as you inhale and the flow from your lungs out through your nose and mouth. It is absolutely fine if your mind wanders. Just bring your awareness back to your breathing and your body.
8. See if you can stay with this process for a minute or so, just observing your breath.
9. Try to do this short exercise daily, each day extending slightly its duration to a point where you spend ten minutes.
10. When practised regularly this short meditation will have a profound affect on your bodily and mental health.
Shiatsu - a healing experience
Recently a woman asked me "What's the difference between your massage and other types of massage?" I replied "Shiatsu is more than a type of massage, it's a healing experience".
Shiatsu could be described as an all over body-energy treatment which nourishes our body, mind and spirit. It bridges the gap between energy healing and body treatment.
What is it all about?
Renowned practitioner Paul Lundberg describes it in the following way "Shiatsu is characterized by its great simplicity. It grew from traditional forms of massage (called Anma in Japan and Anmo or Tuina in China) which use rubbing, stroking, squeezing, tapping, pushing and pulling to influence the muscles and circulatory systems of the body. By contrast Shiatsu uses few techniques and to an observer it would appear that little is happening - merely a still, relaxed pressure at various points on the body with the hand, or thumb, an easy leaning of the elbows or a simple rotation of a limb. It almost seems a lazy activity and, to the extent that it conserves ones energy, it is. But underneath the uncomplicated movements much is happening internally to the body's energy on a subtle level."(from The Book of Shiatsu)
Shiatsu developed out of the long tradition of oriental medicine and healing which works at a very deep level to create a balance in the body's vital energy system known as Ki or Chi. This vital energy (ki) links our body, mind and spirit and is easily injured. This can lead to a hundred and one symptoms of ill health. Whether we suffer from anxiety, stress, headaches, pain, back trouble or constipation it is all a symptom of injury to the complex network of vital energy which keeps us going. When these symptoms appear it is a signal that somewhere in our body our ki has become depleted (kyo in Japanese). This reduction of ki creates a counter reaction and our ki becomes excessive (jitsu) in another area. Very often what appears to be the problem is only the part that is showing, the jitsu. Through diagnosis of the meridian channels the Shiatsu practitioner finds where these imbalances lie and re-balances them through the treatment.
For example when we overwork, what is called our Kidney Energy is disrupted. Over time this can lead to problems such as back ache, chronic fatigue, breathing troubles, and even looking older than our years. Treating the Kidney and Bladder energy channels on the back, along with pressure points such as Kidney 3 (Great Ravine), can have wonderful results. If we get an emotional setback, be it from the break-up of a relationship or the passing of someone close to us our Heart Energy takes a battering. As a result we cannot sleep, maybe don't eat or comfort eat and become down and withdrawn. Using acu points such as Heart 7 (Mind Door) as part of the overall treatment can be very effective in balancing the Heart Energy and helping us cope with these knocks.
During a Shiatsu treatment the receiver remains fully clothed throughout and lies on a soft futon mat on the floor. The practitioner leans into the energy channels with the thumbs or hands, elbows or knees. He/she may also use some simple stretches to open up the channels and improve the flow of ki energy.
The Shiatsu Society of Ireland and the Shiatsu Society UK keep a list of registered practitioners who use the designation RPSSI or MRSS respectively to show that they are professionally qualified, insured and follow the society's codes of practice. Both societies are members of the European Shiatsu Federation.
All registered practitioners have undergone a three year training programme, have been assessed by the Shiatsu school they attended and then, after another period of supervised private practice, they are re-assessed by the Accreditation Panel of the Shiatsu Society.
Shiatsu Society of Ireland : www.shiatsusocietyireland.com
Shiatsu Society UK T: + (44) 1672 513 444 W: www.shiatsusociety.org.uk
Shiatsu Health Belfast: Tel 028 9079 3177. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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